Human Hair Has Engineering Applications

Medscape Staff

May 08, 2023

Recycled hair may have sustainability applications in strengthening building materials, according to a research team in the College of Engineering at the University of Kentucky.

What to Know

  • At the College of Engineering at the University of Kentucky, a research team dubbed CatStrong is exploring the use of hair in the deployment of fiber reinforced polymer composites in the building or repairing of bridges and buildings.

  • Concrete construction forms fabricated with human hair reinforcement are being analyzed, designed, and deployed for testing of strength and sustainability.

  • The average strength of human hair is 30,000 pounds per square inch, compared to 60,000 pounds per square for steel rebar. Hair is readily available from salons, where it is usually discarded after cuttings.

  • The American Road and Transportation Builders Association reports that 7% of Kentucky's bridges are classified as being structurally deficient.

  • Hair-strengthened concrete is being tested. CatStrong has successfully restored more than 40 Kentucky bridges by strengthening beams, columns, piles, and walls using remarkably resilient carbon fiber fabrics, panels, and wraps.

This is a summary of the article, "How UK Research Team Is Proving Human Hair Can Be Used to Repair Kentucky Bridges, Buildings," released by the University of Kentucky on April 5, 2023. The full article can be found on .

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